The apparent formality for Amazing Dude didn't quite work out in Sunday's BIF National Breeders' Produce Stakes final at Clonmel with the Murt Leahy-trained Ballybough Mondo taking full advantage of the favourite's tardy start by leading all the way for a deserved success in the €30,000-to-the-winner classic.
It was a real fairytale result as Ballybough Mondo only came into the event as a reserve but then proceeded to improve with each run and was unbeaten in the last three rounds of the competition. Prior to the first round he had been running in A2 company and his only successes had been in A5 and A2 company at Shelbourne.
But, having won in 28.69 and 28.68 in the quarter- and semi-finals, he was a well-supported 3/1 chance for the final with Amazing Dude at 1/2 favourite and the winner's kennel companion Ballybough Mike was second favourite at 5/2.
In the final Amazing Dude was slowly away on the inside but Ballybough Mondo broke fast from trap two and led up from Ballybough Mike with Haughty Slippers and Amazing Dude improving. Amazing Dude showed second at halfway just over a length behind Mondo but the door was shut as he tried for the inside at the third bend and the race was as good as over. Ballybough Mondo raced on to win by a length-and-a-half from Amazing Dude in 28.55 with Haughty Slippers half-a-length third. The winner is a son of Scolari Me Daddy and High St Miley and is owned by Kilkennyman Pat Carroll, while he was bred in Ballyragget by Emma Watters.
For Leahy, it was the greatest success of his training career and he was in happy mood yesterday, even if a little hoarse after the big session they had afterwards in Pat Carroll's popular hostelry in Kilkenny!
Eight Irish in quarters
Irish-trained runners account for one third of the runners in tonight's quarter-final session in the William Hill English Derby at Wimbledon. Unfortunately, four of them clash in the last of the qualifiers which also houses the "honorary Irishman" Droopys Nidge.
It is a nightmare scenario with Pat Buckley and Peter Cronin having two runners apiece. The odds must favour Buckley's Paradise Maverik and Lenson Sanchez (9.08) and they can both qualify as may Cronin's Tynwald Bish.
After dicing with trouble from trap one at the weekend, Owen McKenna's Farloe Blitz (8.16) will be far happier from trap two in the first heat and he is nominated as the night's banker, while Graham Holland's Clares Wonder can also qualify.
The remaining Irish runners are Holland's Gaytime Hawk and Paul Hennessy's Jaytee Jet(8.51) and I feel both will survive while Teds Last looks the other likely qualifier. Liz McNair's Eden The Kid (8.33) can win Heat 2.